Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 7th, 2008 at 1:15 pm
a recent bike ride in Portland.
(Photo: Jessica Roberts)
For over two decades, Portland has had a sister-city relationship with Guadalajara, Mexico. In addition to supporting Portland’s Latino community through a variety of cultural exchange programs, the partnership puts on Portland’s annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
Now, a new initiative will have the two cities exchanging bike smarts as well.
Representatives from Guadalajara’s transportation office were in Portland during the recent Towards Carfree Cities Conference to iron out the plans.
“Via Recreativa” event.
(Photos: Rex Burkholder)
Greg Raisman, a traffic safety expert at the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation says, “We’ve had some great preliminary discussions with the Guadalajara Mayor’s office in expanding the relationship to specifically focus on bicycles.”
Raisman says they are still “vetting out” all the ideas, but says some of them might include having certain days each year when the city’s mayors conduct all their daily business by bicycle and exchanging (and translating) educational materials (like this Share the Path brochure).
Raisman adds that Portland also wants to learn from Guadalajara’s experience with their highly successful, Sunday Parkways-style event, the “Via Recreativa”.
The new, two-wheeled courtship is already making news in Guadalajara. An article published Saturday in the Guadalajara Reporter — Portland the paradigm for Guadalajara’s bike dreams (reg req’d) — says that city’s mayor, Alfonso Petersen, is using the relationship to help bolster public support for bike facilities and help his transportation staff carry out his ambitious bike plan:
“Portland, Oregon, the United State’s most bike-friendly city… is providing inspiration and guidance as local transportation officials break ground to make Petersen’s plan a reality.”
in Guadalajara in May 2007.
Part of that plan is to re-think their bike network and Guadalajara officials are in negotiations with Portland-based Alta Planning to help them do it.
Eugenio Arriaga Cordero, coordinator of Guadalajara’s Non-Motorized Mobility Program, told the Guadalajara Reporter that,
“We need to change people’s attitudes and their habits. We need to stop associating driving a car with a symbol of success. We need to show that cars cause problems, financial, environmental and for health. We need to convince people that walking, biking and public transportation are preferable modes of transportation.”
Last spring, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder visited Guadalajara and gave a presentation about how bicycles fit into Portland’s transportation system. While there, he also took part in their Via Recreativa and I published a story about his impressions of that event.